Friday Music

It’s been a while, yeah? I know, I know. I’ve been remiss. So let’s just get to it, right?

First up — as the picture up there indicates — one of my favorite tracks of the Disco era. Two artists at the peak of form, doing a duet at the tail end of the movement: 1979. What kills me about this every time: They start with a sweet ballad, voices melding perfectly, and then around a minute and a half in, Streisand hits a beautiful, wistful bell-like note, and holds it. As the dance beat kicks in, and Summer is doing the vocal warm-ups leading up to the drop, Streisand continues to hold that note, but it is changing timbre, going from wistful to powerful, defiant… and just when you think she can’t possibly hold the note any longer, she pushes it up an octave, forcing even more power out of it — and then BOOM! Disco. It really doesn’t get any better than this. Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer – “No More Tears (Enough is Enough).”

A Youtube artist who does full-on noodly metal guitar-wankery, and whose website is filled with mp3s of his arrangements– This is my favorite: EROCK – “Harry Potter Meets Metal.”

R.E.M. announce their official break-up this week, after 31 years. I figured that I’d post the song of theirs that made me a fan. I’d heard earlier tracks from them in the early 80s (“Pretty Persuasion”, etc.) but they never made an impression. In 1985, though, the first single from Fables of the Reconstruction exploded onto MTV and college radio, and they had me. R.E.M. – “Can’t Get There From Here.”

Last week, I saw Men Without Hats in concert in Kansas City — another item crossed off the musical bucket list. MWH are one of my all-time favorite bands — I probably wore out three copies of Rhythm of Youth on cassette. I never heard or saw the follow-up, Folk Hits of the 80s, Part III, until well into college. It was like discovering a bunch of new favorites. This is the single from that album, which Ivan Doroschuk brought the house down with at last week’s show: Men Without Hats – “Where Do The Boys Go.” Ou est les garçons?

One of Laura’s favorites, posted by request. This one tops my list of “Best Songs From Worst Bond Movies.” Shirley Bassey – “Diamonds Are Forever.” Ah, Dame Shirley.

This is a recent Indie track that wormed its way into my ear via the coffee shop where I often go to write. This is from the Brooklyn-based band’s 2010 album, High Violet. The whole album is really excellent, but this song blows me away every time. The National – “England.”

Let’s end with a little Grime, shall we? A new track from the UK, featuring one of my favorite MCs (since his work with DJ Shadow, back on “GDMFSOB”): Toddla T with Roots Manuva – “Watch Me Dance.”

There ya go kids. Check ’em out, buy the albums, and I’ll see you again soon. (Sooner than I have been, promise.)

Miss Out On FAR WEST?

Did you miss out on the FAR WEST Kickstarter? Would you like an opportunity to get a copy of the Limited Edition leatherbound hardcover when it’s released, while at the same time helping a British chef open a traditional fish-and-chips shop here in Lawrence, KS?

Here’s the deal. My friend Matt Poulton is opening Queen Lizzy’s Fish and Chips, and is currently running an IndieGoGo crowdfunding project to raise capital for some improvements in time for opening. I’d like to help, in the best way that I can.

The FAR WEST Kickstarter was an exclusive. The materials offered will not be made available again, and I know a lot of folks missed the chance, because I’m contacted daily with questions about how they might be able to get on board. However, I did promise the backers that their contributions would be rewarded by exclusive content, and I’m going to uphold that promise.

However, when we print the Limited Edition hardcover of the adventure game, there will be an overprint (there always is — we can secure a more affordable per-copy price by printing at the next highest quantity, for example, and all printers equipment usually results in an overprint of as much as 5% of total quantity), and from that overprint, I will be receiving my personal Author’s Copies.

So here’s what I’m willing to do: I will give away TEN of my Author’s Copies of the leatherbound FAR WEST Adventure Game Limited Edition. I will give these copies to the first ten people who donate $100 or more to the Queen Lizzy’s IndieGoGo project (linked above). Just send me your confirmation email as proof, I’ll confirm with Matt Poulton, and send you a copy when they’re printed and ship out to our Kickstarter backers.

You will not receive any of the bonus material from the Kickstarter (the Legends of the Far West supplement, the Tales of the Far West short story anthology, the PDF of the Town of Prosperity, the T-shirt, or the poster map). But you will receive a copy of the game itself, taken from my personal copies.

So, you if you want FAR WEST, here’s your chance! As they say on television, quantities are limited, and operators are standing by. Fund that Chippy and make this happen!